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5 SEATTLE Seahawks
Austin Murphy
August 28, 2000
The fate of last year's division champs hinges largely on an offensive line that's forever developing but never developed
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August 28, 2000

5 Seattle Seahawks

The fate of last year's division champs hinges largely on an offensive line that's forever developing but never developed

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PROJECTED LINEUP
WITH 1999 STATISTICS

Coach: Mike Holmgren
Second season with Scahawks (84-44 in NFL)

Offensive Backs

QB

Jon Kitna

51*

495 att.

270 comp.

54.5%

3,346 yds.

23 TDs

16 int.

77.7 rtg.

RB

Ricky Watters

25*

325 att.

1,210 yds.

3.7 avg.

40 rec.

387 yds.

9.7 avg.

7 TDs

RB

Shaun Alexander (R)#

137*

302 att.

1,383 yds.

4.6 avg.

24 rec.

322 yds.

13.4 avg.

23 TDs

FB

Reggie Brown

288*

14 att.

38 yds.

2.7 avg.

34 rec.

228 yds.

6.7 avg.

1 TD

Receivers, Specialists, Offensive Linemen

WR

Derrick Mayes

79*

62 rec.

829 yds.

10 TDs

WR

Sean Dawkins

115*

58 rec.

992 yds.

7 TDs

WR

Fabien Bownes

262*

4 rec.

68 yds.

1 TD

TE

Christian Fauria

271*

35 rec.

376 yds.

0 TDs

K

Todd Peterson

149*

32/32 XPs

34/40 FGs

134 pts.

PR

Charlie Rogers

303*

22 ret.

14.5 avg.

1 TD

KR

Charlie Rogers

303*

18 ret.

25.8 avg.

0 TDs

LT

Walter Jones

6'5"

300 lbs.

16 games

16 starts

LG

Pete Kendall

6'5"

292 lbs.

16 games

16 starts

C

Chris Gray

6'4"

305 lbs.

16 games

10 starts

RG

Floyd Wedderburn

6'5"

333 lbs.

0 games

0 starts

RT

Todd Weiner

6'4"

300 lbs.

11 games

1 start

Defense

LE

Michael Sinclair

36 tackles

6 sacks

LT

Riddick Parker

23 tackles

2 sacks

RT

Cortez Kennedy

74 tackles

6� sacks

RE

Lamar King

12 tackles

2 sacks

OLB

Chad Brown

115 tackles

5� sacks

MLB

George Koonce#

50 tackles

0 sacks

OLB

Anthony Simmons

94 tackles

0 sacks

CB

Shawn Springs

76 tackles

5 int.

SS

Reggie Tongue#

89 tackles

1 int.

FS

Jay Bellamy

105 tackles

4 int.

CB

Willie Williams

78 tackles

5 int.

P

Jeff Feagles

84 punts

40.8 avg.

#New acquisition
(R) Rookie (statistics for final college year)
*: Player Value Ranking (explanation on page 139)

Year 2 of the Mike Holmgren Era coincides with the Seahawks' silver-anniversary season. Allow us then to pass on this bit of lore: Not once in the club's history has the offensive line been the same from one season to the next.

Holmgren, who wears both the general manager's and the coach's hat, made certain the streak wasn't endangered this year. Even as they won their division last season, snapping a decadelong playoff drought, the Seahawks finished in the bottom third of the league in most offensive categories. So Holmgren told oft-injured center Kevin Glover, aging right guard Brian Habib and ineffective right tackle Grant Williams that the time had come for them to get on with their life's work.

Having spent a season taking the measure of his new team, Holmgren is now putting his stamp on it. Glover, Habib and Williams are just three of eight starters who are no longer on the roster. The others are wideout Joey Galloway, outside linebacker Darrin Smith, defensive linemen Sam Adams and Phillip Daniels, and strong safety Darryl Williams. These players were moved for salary-cap purposes, or because Holmgren didn't care for their personalities, or both.

Change, however, isn't necessarily a good thing along an offensive line, where continuity counts. Going into this season, all eyes will be on the right side of a fivesome that represents a sliding scale of competence. Left tackle Walter Jones is, quite simply, one of the best linemen in the league, a 6'5" 300-pounder who has run a sub-4.7-second 40 on grass. "He's not just one of the most athletic linemen in the league, he's one of the best athletes in the league, period," says left guard Pete Kendall. While not on Jones's level from a talent standpoint, Kendall is a highly regarded pro, the line's vocal leader who makes few mistakes.

At the other spots there's a bit of a drop-off. Journeyman Chris Gray filled in at center when Glover sustained a season-ending injury midway through last year. Seeking an upgrade in the off-season, the Seahawks signed former Falcon Robbie Tobeck, but he tore a tendon in his left knee during a workout in May and is out until midseason. In Tobeck's absence the position remains a Gray area.

Right guard Floyd Wedderburn is an untried second-year player out of Penn State. A fifth-round draft pick in 1999, he didn't play a down last season. Huge for a guard (6'5", 333 pounds), he can look dominant and dazed on the same series. "Floyd's a little cautious right now," offensive line coach Tom Lovat said in mid-August. "He's been a tackle all his life, and it's different when you go inside, because so much more happens in there."

Last fall, less than two quarters into the only NFL game he has ever started, Todd Weiner severely sprained his right ankle and was a nonfactor the rest of the season. This year he's starting at right tackle by default because of the holdout of first-round draft pick Chris McIntosh, a 6'6", 315-pound brute who ran interference for Ron Dayne at Wisconsin. "Todd's a good player," says Holmgren. "I believe we'll be better on the right side than we were last year."

That's not saying much. The coaching staff likes to point out that before he got hurt, Weiner had won the starting job last season. They don't mention that he won it because Howard (House) Ballard retired on the eve of the season. Filling in for the injured Weiner in the 1999 opener against the Lions, Grant Williams walked into a bad dream, giving up two sacks to defensive end Robert Porcher. Thereafter Seattle gave Williams plenty of help, by frequently keeping a tight end or a back in to assist him, which prevented similar catastrophes...until the first round of the playoffs, when Trace Armstrong lit up Williams for three sacks in the Dolphins' 20-17 win.

With Williams long gone, no one was surprised when the Seahawks chose McIntosh with the 22nd pick in the draft. What did prove surprising, unpleasantly so for Holmgren, was McIntosh's reluctance to sign a five-year deal. He wanted a smaller signing bonus in exchange for free agency after four years, an option that was unacceptable to Holmgren. The result: McIntosh, whose pass blocking needs work, has in all likelihood lost his chance to start as a rookie.

Eventually he will sign and have a long NFL career. Holmgren's strategy—dump salaries, go with younger players—is sound. It worked in Green Bay and should work in Seattle. But will it work this season?

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